Chemo#17

Hooray this was my last ever chemo!

Well, not quite. But last for some time, hopefully. Appropriately enough, I had the treatment in the same side room as my last, last ever chemo, last year.

For the final dose I had to go past the garden of tears to get to the chemo unit. It’s a small square of green outside the hospital where you can go if you need a moment. It was there that I posed for photographs to celebrate my last chemo nine months ago. This garden reminds me of the brief time last year when I was cancer free.

When I saw it I thought I’d be sad but I felt surprisingly good. It’s hard to believe that I’ve had so many toxic chemo cocktails and yet I didn’t feel too ill. I think that my spin around Silverstone with David Coulthard from my List for Living gave me such a boost that the side effects hadn’t been so awful.

As I entered the revolving doors I was glad that I was able to walk into the hospital. I had the physical strength to get in there myself. I didn’t need any assistance. And, most importantly, I was still able to have treatment. I may be living with cancer now but it can still help me. That’s perhaps also why I didn’t feel too terrible. Chemo has become part of my life.

I may have felt well when I went in. But hours of poisoning later and it was a different story. I felt so drugged up. It seemed like I’d been given extra strong stuff as it was the last one session. Chantal, my friend the flower girl, slowly led me back out of the hospital afterwards. My woozyness and the wet weather outside meant we didn’t linger for photos. Besides, I knew that I’d be back but I wasn’t focusing on that.

For 11 out of the past 14 months I’ve had cancer treatment. I really need a break from it all. Chantal drove me back to my parents in her flower van. As we headed through the rain to the countryside I was dreaming of my chemo holiday.

22 thoughts on “Chemo#17

  1. Hi Helen I hope your break from Chemo is a long one and that you keep on enjoying life and getting through the list for living

  2. Dear Helen, rest up and gather strength to enjoy you time off chemo! Your spirit (with the ups AND downs) is an amazing inspiration, not only to people who have to struggle with health issues, but for everyone. Sending lots of love and happy thoughts!

  3. Good luck Helen hope you keep well keep us all posted as you tick of the things you do on your list your an inspiration to every body who is fighting cancer x

  4. I remember when my husband was having his treatment for cancer of the tongue we said all along that we would have a party when it was over. We did’nt!! He was so happy just to sit in the conservatory with the sun on his face and soak up life. Simple things like being with those who had helped him through it, being with people who understood when he had to go to bed because of exhaustion, friends who fully understand when he becomes paranoid about oral hygiene, all these things became so precious. Now however, 7 years on from that awful diagnosis and treatment we are the party people!!!! Hopefully when you are well rested and with the help of your family and friends you too will be back as one of the party people. Although having read about your experience on the race track I think you are half way there. I look forward to your next blog and send you best wishes for a restful happy time. After that, who knows what you are capable of!! List for living – look out!!

  5. I hope your readers who have not experienced chemo realise just what a heroic feat of endurance 17/18 weeks in a row represents. May your chemo holiday be a long one.

  6. Helen, I cannot contemplate all that you have endured to get to this point. You are a chemo hero. May your holiday last a long, long time. Sending you all our love and best wishes for a happy recovery in the country with Sasha xxx

  7. Well done Helen! What a marvelous milestone. Really hoping your chemo holiday is a long one… How about the longest gap year on record?! This time last year I had just finished 8 rounds of chemo and had a double mastectomy (My dog also died and my car was stolen. They say it comes in 3’s!! Boobs, car & dog lost within a week!!) Anyway. The car insurance payout gave me some much need pennies so at the end of June, I packed up my son & my wigs and went off to Thailand for 3 and a half weeks. It was the best thing I did – the sun on my bones was just what the doctor ordered. Fingers crossed the sun shines for you, my lovely and the toxic nasties aren’t too unkind in the coming week. Keep up the good work xxxx

  8. Hi Helen, Very well done completing your chemo course just in time for summer, including we hope lots of sunshine. Take it easy, relax, regain your strength and then when you feel ready, complete your list for living. You are an inspiration to all your followers. Remember to drop us all a line or two as you tick off your list. xx

  9. Enjoy your holiday. I so hope it’s a long one. Enjoy every day and I look forward to hearing more of the wonderful adventures on your List xxx

  10. Life is about little victories every day and I for one celebrate each of those little victories with you out here.

    Thinking of you always in the sandbox.

  11. Hi Helen, tomorrow is the day when myself and 15 other girls/ladies do the race for life in the beautiful Stormont Estate in Belfast. Our little group are called Crochet and Away. Named due to the fact that a few of the more talented amongst (not me) us crocheted bras for the occasion. We have had such a laugh trying on and personalizing our bras. I hope you don’t mind but I would like to have your name on my back for the race. I can honestly say that you were the inspiration behind this. We have all had the best of fun over the past few weeks getting together and discussing this little project. I would like to say that we have trained for the event but that consisted of marching round a friend’s kitchen last night after a few glasses of wine!! “We’ll be fine” was echoed on more than one occasion. I will be thinking of you tomorrow as we set off and hoping that you are enjoying your chemo holiday. Best wishes and happy thoughts being sent your way.

    • Good luck!!! I’m honoured to have inspired you. Of course, I don’t mind. I love your idea of training. You’ll be fine ;) xxx

      • Done and dusted!!!!! It was fantastic. We all had a wonderful morning and went out for breakfast afterwards. Before the race started some girls went up on stage and gave their story. One particular girl who had cancer was diagnosed with 3 months to live in 2008!!! A great group of people took part from babies in prams to pensioners. Haven’t counted all the money yet but think we have raised almost £1,000. So glad our training paid off!!

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